Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa opposes takeover of Poes Garden, moves court

Says conversion of house would hamper investigation into Jayalalithaa's death

deepa-jayakumar-sasthaa Deepa Jayakumar | R.G. Sasthaa

The fight for former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s residence has turned into a full-fledged legal battle. A week after the state government announced its move to take over Veda Nilayam, Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar has moved the Madras High Court.

Kumar has also asked the court to issue stay orders to the state government to stop the work of converting Veda Nilayam into a memorial till we overcome the pandemic. 

In a writ petition filed on July 28 before the Madras High Court, she claimed that the government’s move to take over Veda Nilayam will hamper the Justice A. Arumughaswamy commission of inquiry into her death, as she was shifted to Apollo hospital on September 22, 2016, from her Poes garden residence.

She also said in the petition that the move could lead to a heist like in her Kodanad estate. Stating that the government did not ascertain her and her brother J Deepak, who were declared class two legal heirs by the Court, she said, “the proceedings of the state government in acquisition of our family property is not in harmony with the procedures established in law.” 

Pointing out that the state government had been pre-determined to convert Vedha Nilayam into memorial for Jayalalithaa, she said that it cannot take two stands.

“On one side a commission was appointed and on the other side acquisition proceedings are taking place. If the latter persists the former will fail. The attitude of the state government will definitely affect the course of inquiry.”

She also questioned the government's apparent hurry to take over the house at a time when the entire world is fighting the coronavirus pandemic. She said the government, by declaring the list of immovable and movable properties inside the house, has decided to take over the moveable and immovable properties which include some of her ancestral treasures in the residence. She said the treasures from her forefathers and her great grandfather include antiques of high value, including gold, silver, copper, platinum, diamonds and various precious metals. 

Stating that the reason for the government “government’s galloping to towards their few months rule to acquire the property,” she said the ideology of extracting the movables from her family property is nothing but to make money out of precious treasures which are left by our ancestors.

“The state government is going to make a big scandal out of our property and indulge in spoiling the reputation of Jayalalithaa,” she said. She said her grandmother N.R. Sandhya purchased the residence and named it as Veda Nilayam and all the properties earned through acting in films by Sandhya and Jayalalithaa were maintained by a trust called Natya Kala Nikethan. She also said in the writ petition that converting Veda Nilayam into a memorial was “a politically motivated move by O. Panneerselvam who split the ADMK party created a faction and then publicly claimed that he will convert Veda Nilayam into a memorial in March 2017.” 

In an affidavit filed in support of her writ petition listed for admission before Justice N Anand Venkatesh on August 3, Deepa said, “the acquisition proceeding has to be stopped immediately, otherwise the evidence acquired by the honourable justice A Arumughaswamy commission may be destroyed.” She also insisted upon taking inventory of the assets left behind by her aunt Jayalalithaa. She expressed her intention to do so with the assistance of her husband K. Madhavan and other legal representatives. 

A few weeks before J. Deepak had approached the Madras High Court seeking the court to issue to orders to the state government to hand over the Poes Garden residence keys to him. But, before his petition could come up for hearing the state government announced the award and deposited Rs.68 crores in a city civil court and said it can be apportioned among the Income Tax, in lieu of Jayalalithaa’s tax dues and her kin.

However, it may be recalled that the Madras High Court division bench comprising of Justices N. Kirubakaran and Abdul Quddhose had already declared Deepa and Deepak as the legal heirs of Jayalalithaa.